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What baby boomers will look for in nursing homes

September 29, 2009
by ebarbera
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ü Customer service—Boomers will expect service more like a hotel than a hospital.

ü Better food—They'll want healthier food, with a greater selection, tastefully presented, in a pleasant atmosphere, and served by people who have the time and attitude to make meals a pleasurable experience.

ü Computer access—They'll prefer a wireless facility, with computers adapted for disability.

ü Outdoor space—Boomers will expect to go outside in all sorts of weather, at all times of the day, onto an attractive patio. They'll want to sign out of the facility AMA (against medical advice) rather than have to rely on others to go off-campus.

ü Quiet areas—A serene place within the facility to be away from the bells, buzzers, phones, and alarms will be well-received.

ü Mobility—Boomers will take the risk of falls in order to maintain their mobility and independence as long as possible. They won't care about the facility's falls policy.

ü Motorized wheelchairs and other adaptive devices—Knowing how much technology is out there, boomers will seek devices that improve their lives, and they'll create what they need if it doesn't already exist.

Have something to add? Comments are welcome. Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at www.mybetternursinghome.blogspot.com.


Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed...



Hi capecodmermaid,

Yes, in New York City many facilities do serve alcohol, but in my experience, in very limited amounts. Many facilities do also have pets of course, but again, in my experience, not enough, and personally, not to the extent I would enjoy when I'm in a nursing home. As far as the remotes are concerned (and other ideas as well) I took Dr. Barbera's blog as a wish list, not necessarily as what will be affordable. And as technology goes, what is unaffordable and rare today, may be commonplace tomorrow. Dr. Barbera is challenging us to envision the future of nursing homes as we would like to see them.

I know as a Boomer, the #1 thing I am going to be looking for in long-term care is what the care provider is going to do to help me preserve/enhance my wellness.

Dan Michel

To Sue Samek...In Massachusetts, some of us have those things already. We've been serving alcohol for years. At one facility the 5 o'clock med pass had as many chablis as colace. We have 'house' pets...one lives in and many others come visit. I'm not sure most of us will be able to afford remotes for the ac and especially not for the windows.

Boomers who live in NYC will want "take out."
We will also want:
-Movies on demand
-A more home like environment with greater possiblities for personalization
-If capable, the opportunity to take care of a pet
-If incapable, the provision of pets in our environment
-The ability to drink alcohol as desired

I also really like the additions you added to your blog:

"Remote controls for the air conditioners/radiators

The ability to open and close windows by remote control"

Thanks for the comments. I keep thinking of more things Boomers will look for in nursing homes. Going along with Dan Michel's idea, I think Boomers will want to have access to support groups for various issues arising in nursing home life, whether they relate to illness, loss, or any other concern. I'm expecting that Boomers will be more likely than current residents to start these groups themselves, rather than relying on the staff to generate such activities.